Dr. Andrew Weil is the leading authority on integrative medicine and healthy aging. For many years, he has advocated exercise and a healthy diet as the keys to living a longer, more productive life.
Most of us are well aware of this connection. But we are not necessarily aware of the negative effect that the wrong foods can have on us. We are typically not aware that the wrong foods can cause persistent, low level inflammation in the body.
According to Dr. Weil, “chronic inflammation is the root cause of many serious illnesses – including heart disease, many cancers, and Alzheimer’s disease.”
The Harvard School of Public Health says that, “Inflammation sets the stage for heart attacks, most strokes, peripheral artery disease, and even vascular dementia, a common cause of memory loss. Inflammation doesn’t happen on its own. It is the body’s response to a host of modern irritations like smoking, lack of exercise, high-fat and high-calorie meals, and highly processed foods.”
Whether or not you have chronic inflammation in your body is influenced by a number of things: genetics, stress, exposure to environmental toxins and diet. Of these factors, your diet is the one thing that you have complete control over. You can choose to eat foods that are anti-inflammatory and avoid the foods that create inflammation in your system.
For example, if you are eating beef that is not specifically labelled “grass-fed,” it means that the cows were fed a high-calorie diet of corn and grain in an effort to fatten them quickly. The corn may even be genetically altered. Corn and grain are full of omega-6 fatty acids, which have been linked to inflammation. Grass-fed cows are leaner, and their meat is rich in healthy compounds such as omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E.
Learn more about the anti-inflammatory foods that you should be eating.
For a quick reference, take a look at Dr. Weil’s Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid